Dubailand may have been too ambitious, much of it may never be built

Posted Monday, August 24, 2009 11:28 PM | Contributed by Chitown

Dubailand is the vision by Dubai officials to turn a patch of sand on the edge of the Mideast city-state into Dubailand — a vast amusement complex twice the size of Walt Disney World studded with theme parks including Universal Studios, Six Flags and Legoland, along with resorts, the world's biggest shopping mall and the first golf course designed by Tiger Woods. It is now unclear when or if much of it will ever get built. Dubailand has hit the harsh economic realities of the global downturn, much like the rest of Dubai, which once seemed unstoppable in its drive to build the biggest, the tallest, the most extravagant.

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Monday, August 24, 2009 11:33 PM

I was wondering when the economic realities would filter over to Dubai. I said many times elsewhere that this was getting too big, too fast, and would end up crashing at some point. Though it may not be crashing, it has certainly hit quite a barrier right now. The location has always struck me as odd as well, and I've always thought it was too remote of a location, too isolated. Of course, Vegas is pretty much in the middle of nowhere as well. I don't know, I just don't see this ending up all roses.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009 12:46 AM

Vegas is, worst case, around a 5 hour flight from the furthest point in the US. Dubai is much more remote. Vegas benefits from the monstrous domestic travel market in the US and is a lot more convenient for its travel market than Dubai. Dubai benefits a lot from long-haul travelers, whereas Vegas has a much more convenient location. That's saying nothing of Vegas' probable cheaper price tag. I doubt Dubai is anywhere near as inexpensive to get to. As for the cost of things to do once there, that I'm not sure about. I've not been to either, but working in the airline industry and reading up on it a lot, most people view Vegas as a pretty low-yield air travel market.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009 2:01 AM

You are aware of places called Europe, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, right? London is something like seven hours to Dubai, so there are obviously a great many cities in those regions that are even closer.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009 2:58 AM

Jeff - that may be true, but Las Vegas is only a ten hour flight from much of Europe, and Orlando is maybe eight - and both have the advantage of being English speaking. Dubai is really only convenient for the Asian market IMHO; the cost of getting there would put it out of the range of the majority of those in India.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009 9:10 AM

Dubai is really expensive or at least it was a year ago. When I saw all of the announcements I did some quick searches for flights and hotels and pretty wrote the place off.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009 10:23 AM

sirloindude said:
Vegas is, worst case, around a 5 hour flight from the furthest point in the US. Dubai is much more remote. Vegas benefits from the monstrous domestic travel market in the US and is a lot more convenient for its travel market than Dubai. Dubai benefits a lot from long-haul travelers, whereas Vegas has a much more convenient location. That's saying nothing of Vegas' probable cheaper price tag. I doubt Dubai is anywhere near as inexpensive to get to. As for the cost of things to do once there, that I'm not sure about. I've not been to either, but working in the airline industry and reading up on it a lot, most people view Vegas as a pretty low-yield air travel market.

As jeff pointed out in the subsequent post, you are taking a very American view of this. In fact, Dubai was aimed at European and Asian travellers, not so much for US tourists.

For most of Western Europe, Dubai is a very viable alternative with warm sunny weather near year round. For people who live in England, the Netherlands, etc who suffer from gray cloudy skies for 6 months of the year, don't underestimate the draw of sunny & warm. Vegas is not WARM for a good portion of the year.

Again, your view is clouded by your lack of experience (having never been to both, etc).

I'm not saying that the underlying premise of the article is wrong, just your very limited analysis.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009 11:16 AM

I understand that Dubai is primarily a European/Asian/African destination, and I also acknowledge that it's becoming more of an American tourist destination as well (with LA, Toronto, NYC, Houston, and San Francisco all served by Emirates, saying nothing of the service offered from Atlanta, Washington, DC, etc. by US airlines). I said what I said in my first post as more of a reply to the post above it that Vegas was in the middle of nowhere and simply explaining that Vegas was probably cheaper. Those weren't my thoughts on why Dubai was suffering.


As for my comments on the story at hand, I was somewhat skeptical of whether or not Dubai could pull off the meteoric growth they were hoping for even before the economy tanked. I'm all for ambition, and it was cool to see such impressive ideas put out there, but they were really banking on tourism to take an epic boom, which, while possible, was somewhat hard to believe.

I'd love to check the place out, and I hope that the development eventually comes to fruition, but I just think that they may have tried to grow too big too quickly.

Last edited by sirloindude, Tuesday, August 25, 2009 11:17 AM
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009 12:07 PM

Well bummer for them. At least they'll have the world tallest free standing structure....for now!

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009 12:53 PM

Off Topic: the reason why Emirates (the airline) serves all those US cities and Toronto is so they can offer cheap flights to Dubai and that connects to the India and southeast asia area. Its the only reason why. That's why the canadian government blocked Emirates from flying weekly to Toronto and to other cities. Airlines from the UAE are restricted to 6 flights a week to Toronto and Emirates currently fly 3 times a week on the Airbus 380 and I believe its Etihad (Abu Dhabi) that does the other 3.

Back on topic, Dubai massive PR effort was so successful that even here, people know that "the biggest theme parks in the world" are over there and sometimes even ask me if I went? When I tell them most of it has not been built and probably never will, they're shocked to say the least.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009 7:55 PM

Absimilliard said:
Back on topic, Dubai massive PR effort was so successful that even here, people know that "the biggest theme parks in the world" are over there and sometimes even ask me if I went? When I tell them most of it has not been built and probably never will, they're shocked to say the least.

They do? Where do you live? I'm in Dayton, doing a report on the Dubai Islands, and nobody knew ANYTHING about them, let alone the amusement parks. Maybe you're not in America, so I can understand that.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009 9:48 PM

I live in Montreal (Canada) and Dubai has been talked a lot here.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009 1:24 PM

The Mole said:

I'm in Dayton, doing a report on the Dubai Islands, and nobody knew ANYTHING about them, let alone the amusement parks. Maybe you're not in America, so I can understand that.

Seriously? You are comparing the knowledge base of those in Dayton with those of America as a whole? Really?

Last edited by ridemcoaster, Wednesday, August 26, 2009 1:25 PM
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009 1:26 PM

I'm in Dayton and I knew about them. ;)

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009 1:29 PM

You are a freak of nature though Gonch. We all know that. ;)

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009 1:32 PM

True. I often forget that.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009 3:59 PM

Heck, Discovery Channel had a special about Dubai and how those islands were made as well as what damage they are doing due to the winter storms. From what I know of them is that they can be scene from orbit since they are that large.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009 6:44 PM

ridemcoaster said:


The Mole said:

I'm in Dayton, doing a report on the Dubai Islands, and nobody knew ANYTHING about them, let alone the amusement parks. Maybe you're not in America, so I can understand that.

Seriously? You are comparing the knowledge base of those in Dayton with those of America as a whole? Really?

At the University of. More than just Dayton people there, I know that much.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009 9:25 AM

Wasn't most of the money coming from the sheiks/princes? Or am I confused?

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Thursday, August 27, 2009 11:25 AM

Uhh yeah Mole.. Still doesnt outweigh the US knowledge base as a whole.

Just because the people at the University of Dayton doesnt know. Its a very poor assumption to say no one else in the states knows. We proved that in the threads alone.

All im saying..

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